Motorcycle accident leg injuries can have lifelong physical and financial consequences. If you suffered a severe leg or foot injury in a motorcycle accident caused by someone else, North Carolina tort law allows you to hold them liable for your losses.
Our experienced Wilmington motorcycle accident attorneys at Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys can explain how these common injuries to the lower extremities impact a personal injury claim.
Why Are Motorcycle Accident Leg Injuries So Common?
Your lower body is vulnerable to injury in a motorcycle accident. The upper legs are least at risk, followed by the knees, thighs and ankles. Proximity to the road and other vehicles are obvious reasons these areas are more at risk. However, not having sufficient safety gear is another issue.
Legal mandates require riders to wear helmets, but not everyone wears protection gear on their legs and feet. Boots and proper pants will not prevent some of the more severe injuries. However, this gear does offer a buffer for common motorcycle injuries, such as road rash.
What Are the Most Common Types of Motorcycle Lower-Extremity Injuries?
The most common injury from a motorcycle accident is road rash, an abrasion that results from sliding contact between the skin and pavement. Because motorcycles typically fall to one side, a rider’s leg trapped between the bike and the pavement can suffer severe abrasions.
Road rash is not often life-threatening, but in extreme cases, it may cause scarring, infection, immense blood loss, disfigurement or amputation. Other common types of motorcycle accident leg injuries include knee, thigh, foot and ankle injuries.
Foot and ankle injuries
Foot injuries from motorcycle accidents are almost always broken bones, but ankle injuries may include fractures, sprains and torn soft tissue. Ankle injuries are often more painful and debilitating than foot injuries. For example, ankles have many large and small bones vulnerable to breaks, and tears in tendons and ligaments may require surgical intervention.
Femur fractures are common types of thigh injuries. They range from a clean break to a crush injury or complex radial fracture. The worst may require pins and plates or the replacement of parts of the bone. An injured or severed femoral artery in the inner thigh could also result in a deadly loss of blood or cutting off the blood supply to the leg.
Knee injuries from motorcycle accidents can come in many forms:
- Dislocated kneecaps cause painful joint deformities.
- Sprains are the result of violent twisting at the knee and can cause ligament tears.
- Tendon ruptures or tears often occur from direct trauma to the knee, making it impossible to extend the leg or walk.
Even minor knee injuries, such as sprains, are still debilitating and can result in a significant loss of income opportunities.
Tibia and fibula fractures make up a shocking number of motorcycle accident leg injuries. Recovery from these breaks can take up to six months and require a significant rest period to speed up the process. In severe cases, bones can shatter, requiring multiple surgeries to repair and often resulting in long-term issues.
How Can Motorcyclists Protect Their Legs and Feet?
Safety gear is key to protecting your lower extremities when you ride. You may see other riders wearing jeans, but these are insufficient unless they contain Kevlar lining. A strong pair of motorcycle pants will save you from painful road rash and the engine’s heat right next to your lower legs.
Consider some elements of protective motorcycle pants:
- Leather pants are a solid material to protect from road rash.
- Textile pants are the safest and offer specialized designs for more breathable options.
- Styles that are looser in the legs allow you to wear more layers underneath.
Boots are the key to protecting your feet. A good pair will have a steel toe and go up the calf to protect you from road rash or burns.
What Damages Can You Recover For Motorcycle Accident Leg Injuries?
North Carolina’s fault-based system allows anyone injured in an accident caused by another party to recover compensatory damages. The purpose is to make you whole again, and the damages available vary case by case. However, most cases share some common economic and non-economic damages.
Your economic damages reflect how motorcycle accident leg injuries impacted you financially. For example, all medical expenses, including the cost of future care and any necessary medical devices, are recoverable. Other common economic damages include:
- The loss of income from missed work opportunities
- The loss of earning capacity if your leg or foot injury results in permanent disability
- The cost of repairing or replacing your motorcycle or any other damaged property
- Any out-of-pocket expenses, such as transportation to medical visits, child care services or at-home assistance
Our legal team will help gather the documentation necessary to prove these losses, including medical bills, pay stubs, tax returns, treatment plans and professional estimates for damaged property.
Your non-economic losses cover how your accident impacted your mental and emotional health. Motorcycle accidents can be traumatizing, especially if you suffer severe injuries. North Carolina tort law allows you to recover financial compensation for noneconomic losses, including:
- Physical pain and suffering from the injuries and the resulting medical treatments
- Loss of your ability to enjoy life as you once did
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Anxiety, post-traumatic stress and depression
Valuing these losses is a critical element of our job. We identify all recoverable losses and use a court-accepted method to assign adequate monetary value. You will likely recover a more substantial settlement from the insurance company with our attorneys evaluating your claim for damages.
Contact Us About Your Motorcycle Accident Case
At Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys in Wilmington, South Carolina, we understand the severity of motorcycle accident leg injuries. These incidents affect the injured person’s physical, mental, emotional and financial health, and we can help restore these. We know how insurance companies operate and will act swiftly to build your case for compensation. Contact our legal team to schedule your free consultation today.